Thursday, February 27, 2014

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Eye to the Infinite–The Sword Prevents Us…

Excerpt from Eye to the Infinite – by Reb Aharon Rubin…

So how do we overcome these obstacles? The fact that the sword was placed at the en­trance of the Garden after Adam and Eve had sinned[1](and driven out)[2] shows us that the sword that pre­vents us entering our own deeper levels of understanding and concentration is cre­ated or strength­ened by moral and re­ligious mis­de­mean­ours. Consequently, moral purity, correct religious conduct, as described by the Torah and the sages, should have the re­verse result, less­ening or removing the sword’s effect.[3]

Sin strengthens man's egocentric, animalistic nature, exaggerating the di­chot­omy be­tween the ego and the G-dly soul and solidifying the CCF 'sword' bar­rier be­tween the con­scious and unconscious; this effectively blocks the Neshomoh’s light. Holi­ness and altru­istic behav­iour, on the other hand, create men­tal and emo­tional unity, supersed­ing the subcon­scious and the CCF, al­low­ing the Ne­shomoh and Inner Mind to con­verse with the conscious and their in­fluence to spread throughout the human psyche.[4]

Thus, spiritual purity enables the blending of the unconscious with the conscious, the mystical and transcendent with the ana­lyti­cal, the Tree of Life with the Tree of Knowing.

In this state of higher, unified cerebral communication, the Neshomoh creates its own protec­tion. Its protecting spiritual screen is more efficient than the “sword” in shielding the mind from the outside world. Its aura, called “the Chashmal”,[5] shelters the entire person from hearing, seeing or ex­peri­encing anything that might be damaging to his spiri­tual pu­rity and advance­ment (see fig. 6).

Though Chashmal is also the name of the sword at the entrance to Eden, the sword Rabbi Abu­lafia says prevents our achiev­ing higher con­sciousness, here the person stands within his own Eden, as it were, connecting with his in­ner mind; he is thus protected by the sword without.

It is interesting to note that Mai­monides de­fines Chashmal as “speaking silence.”[6] Thus, according to Abula­fia, a person ruled by their ego has a “speaking silence,” a miasma of silent chatter, between the con­scious and the inner mind. When the person is in a purer, altruistic state, this “speaking si­lence” provides a blanket of protec­tion be­tween him and the outer world.

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[1] See Ibn Ezra, Genesis 3:24. Ohel Yosef expounds on the words of the Ibn Ezra: “Even though this story [of Adam] recounts what happened, it [also] alludes to all mankind; everything that was, till Seth was born (i.e. being placed in the Garden of Eden, partaking of the fruit, the subsequent expul­sion and the placing of the Ceruvim and the Revolving Sword) alludes to what happens to every person, in every generation.” See also Rabbi David Kimchi, the ReDaQ, ibid.: “עדן הוא משל לשכל הפועל הוא העדן האמתי הרוחני והא-ל נטע בו גן מקדם בראש בריותיו כשברא השכלים הנבדלים”.

[2] The sword was only placed after their expulsion from the Garden, not immedi­ately af­ter the sin. There appears to be a time-lapse between sin and the consequential “closing of doors,” as the effect of the sin substantiates.

[3] We see in chapter three that moral purity is the Sefiroh of Yesod, which attribute necessitates self-discipline that comes as a direct result of self-worth – Malchuth. This spiritual “sword” of Yesod counteracts the sword discussed here, the sword of impurity.

[4] This explains how persons of advanced spiritual calibre (e.g. Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin (1896-1970)) were able to know the number of leaves on a tree just by glancing at the tree, and the Talmud says a proper disciple of the Rabbis can recognise his own property without needing any obvious distinguishing sign (see Bava Metsioh 23b, also 49b): the door to their inner mind is open and the conscious mind is one with their soul’s awareness.

[5] See Sha’ar HaKavonos [Gate of Meditations, R. Yitschok Luria’s devotional medita­tions on Mitsvoth, recorded by R. Chaim Vital] on Birchas HaShachar, ברכת מלביש ערומים.

[6] Guide for the Perplexed (London: Pardes Publishing House, 1904), 3:4, p. 260.

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